Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I missed my quota today

I did not install any posts for the trampoline retaining wall today. Instead, I lay curled up in a ball on my bed with intestinal distress from eating at the all-you-can-eat Pizza Hut dinner buffet (where kids eat free with a paying adult). I'd blog about that, except Ellie has already blogged about a similar thing today, quite coincidentally.

It was interesting to see how she referred to her condition by her boyfriend's nickname, though. Honestly, I've always thought "The Locksmith" was a better nickname for him, but that's the trouble with genius. It is rarely recognized. Except I note he has taken to calling himself that in her comments section. He must be an exceptionally bright fellow and not at all like the previous one.

Two days ago, a lady I work with walked into my cube, sat down, and asked, "What is rum?" She must have been pretty bored, as it's kind of easy to figure out what rum is from the web. As luck would have it, I managed to deliver quite a dissertation on the various varieties of spirits. I summed it up with, "One thing you quickly discover when you look into the different kinds of liquor is that across the entire world, relatively independently of one another, man in virtually every society has figured out how to make liquor out of whatever grows there. It's some kind of primal drive." I stopped short of discussing the parallels between the quest for liquor and the quest for god and the joys and destruction wrought by both because, of course, liquor is real, rendering the discussion one of those sophomoric exercises you go through when it's late at night and there's nothing left in the bar but fat chicks and the drunk dude next to you.

Yeah. You know what I'm talking about.

Rhonda got tagged by one of those annoying chain-letter-blog things, and I actually ended up spending valuable brain cells thinking of seven "random" facts about myself. Not because I thought I'd get tagged, but because it was stuck in my head like the way "I Love Rock'n'Roll" was after that bachelorette party sang it at Lucky Joe's a couple weeks ago. Now, having thought about it, I can never actually answer the question as the answers would no longer be random. I had a few good ones. I tried one of my favorite ones out on Manly Lesbian, and she responded with, "Yuk. How about you sing weird stuff in the shower."

See above comment about genius.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

At it again

Over the course of the last two nights, I created a fancy Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my sprinkler timings. See, this recent heatwave has uncovered serious flaws in my run times that have resulted in large brown areas of the lawn in some places, and lush green grass elsewhere.

Now, you'd think this wouldn't be such a big deal to figure out, excepting I have 36 sprinkler zones. Now go off and do a little googling to discover exactly how much it costs to get a 36-zone sprinkler controller. If you find one under $500, let me know. The brilliant! previous owners of my house solved the problem by installing 3 8-zone and one 12-zone controller. Total cost of that probably closer to $200.

The problem being that it becomes quite a chore to keep all the run times from overlapping. Especially given that the gear-driven zones (9), the drip zones (3), and the popup zones require dramatically different run times, number of days per week of running, and number of times per day to run. Amongst the 4 controllers, I am able to support roughly 21 starts. I, of course, like to keep things simple, so I only use 6.

But then, as it gets hotter, I find myself adding five minutes here and there to a zone. And then something else turns brown, and I discover it's because one of the programs on one of the other controllers is now starting before this one is ending, and the whole thing becomes a domino effect that results in me having large brown spots in the lawn. We don't have anywhere near enough water pressure to run two zones simultaneously. Or even, really, to take a decent 5-head shower while the sprinklers are running.

Once I had the whole thing in Excel, though, I could very easily play with run times and start times and see how that waterfalled through the programs such that I could push out start times to accommodate the run time changes. I expect my lawn will begin to green right up again.

Except I have about 6 sprinkler heads that will need physical intervention due to trees, fence posts, being 30 degrees of vertical, or clogged. I'll get to that right after the trampoline - a job that would have been done already if only I had half-assed it. But, hey, I got my first search engine hit to "in-ground trampoline installation" today. Some dude in England. Maybe I can turn it into a community service post like I did with my snow blower review.

On a lighter note, StinkyJ is going to be in town on bidness in two weeks. He'll be able to join us for Fat Camp, perhaps. When I told The Mrs. that he'd be dropping by, she announced to HannahC that they'd better start cleaning the house.

I probably should have given her more notice.

Monday, June 25, 2007

All in all, I'd rather be fishing

(The inground trampoline project is mostly here.)

You've all been wondering where I've been, haven't you? Well, I'll tell you. I've been suffering. Suffering like no man should ever have to suffer, but suffering in a way many men have to on an altogether too frequent occasion.

That is to say, I've been doing one of The Mrs.'s pet projects.

You see, it all started back last July when we came out here for a house hunting trip. And that wonderful house we bought had many features that had the hidden potential to give and give and give. The one of particular interest to today's story is that beautiful in-ground trampoline seen here with MaxieC, Ellie, and our real-eh-tor. That delightful ring of concrete pavers around the edge of the trampoline hole were a bit askance when we bought the old house, but we loved it anyways.

This year, of course, the concrete pavers are more than just askance. They are quite askew. They have been slowly sinking throughout the year, the victims of a piss-poorly built retaining wall that has been collapsing and allowing the dirt to wash out from behind it. I've been looking at this and saying, "Yup. That's a pretty piss-poor retaining wall." The Mrs. has been filing that in the to-do list.

But then on Monday I was jumping on the trampoline with MaxieC, and the stitching holding in one of the springs let go. Uh oh. The magical alignment of a trampoline that needs to get replaced, a retaining wall under the trampoline that needs to get replaced, and a weekend where every single day is going to be over 100 degrees.

So this project began like every other project. Poorly. I measured the old trampoline at 13'9" in diameter. We piled into the truck to head to Dick's, and they have 13' and 14' trampolines. The 14' is, not kidding here, 1 cent more than double the cost of the 13'. And it's on sale for $100 off, whereas the 13' is not on sale. I select the 13' and hope it runs a little big.

We get it home and assemble the frame. I measure it, and it is exactly 13'2". That's a mite small. The Mrs. and I go to the old trampoline to overlay the new dimensions in order to visualize the gap, and she notes that the old trampoline is exactly 14'.

What? I measured it at 13'9"! I measured it twice!

The Mrs., in her snide way, noted that of course I did.

I remembered where I had measured it before, which was perpendicular to the way The Mrs. was measuring it, and sure enough it still measured 13'9". So the stupid circle wasn't circular. Yeah yeah, I should probably have measured it in a couple different directions to make sure it was a circle. But it made of damned tubular steel. It shouldn't deform.

We pack the new trampoline back up in its box, which takes two tries cuz we filled up the box and had 4 bars left over on the first try and headed back to Dick's. On the way, The Mrs. is calling every sporting goods place in the phone book, and none of them have 14' trampolines. Only Dick's. On sale. For double the price of the 13'. Plus a penny.

The exchange went very smoothly, as stores are often happy to take something back in exchange for you buying something that is multiple hundreds of dollars more. They had to find two guys to load the 14-footer into the truck, as the box was also double the size of the 13'. Turns out the 14' is a super-heavy-duty model that is rated for 250lbs and has PVC coated tubular steel of about double the diameter of the non-pvc-coated tubular steel of the 13'. It also has "extra long springs for superior action". It seems nice. But HannahC weighs like 45 lbs and MaxieC about 30. So it's serious overkill.

Now the problem with the new trampoline is that it's larger than the old one. I figured it would be easier to make the hole in the ground larger than to make it smaller. I spent most of the rest of the day tearing out the old, collapsed retaining wall. It was made by sinking 12 3-ft 4x4's 1 foot into the ground (no concrete) and then attaching 3/8" plywood for about 12" in height followed by 2 strips of 5" wide Trex decking material. The attachment was done with either 3" screws or 1" screws depending upon, apparently, randomness.

As part of the demolition, I managed to bash the living hell out of my right pinky knuckle in a freak accident. I was holding a long Trex board, and the crowbar I had stuck in the ground fell over, slid along the Trex, and smacked my finger. Man, did that hurt. It only swelled up a little, so I kept working. This really annoyed the womens in the house (both The Mrs. and HannahC) who kept wanting to run me to urgent care. It must be nice.

I kept asking The Mrs. to photo document the demolition, but she kept sub-contracting to HannahC, and she kept mostly just eating ice cream sandwiches and popsicles given that it was 100 degrees out. So but the time any photos were taken, it was already complete and there were serious lighting issues that rendered the photos worthless.

Towards the end of the day, we decided it might be nice to think of a plan on how to rebuild the retaining wall so it didn't suck. So we headed across the street to see the neighbor's trampoline pit. His was even worse than ours, him having been deployed to Iraq just as he started the job and thus having to half-ass it like crazy to finish before leaving. The neighbor (who is now back) and I strategized for a while, and I am largely using the plan we developed during that chat. Though I've simplified it a bit because I just did not want to sink 6x6's into the ground in 100 degree weather, so I'm using 4x4's instead.

Here are MaxieC and I Sunday morning preparing to haul all the debris out.

Now this is where it gets fun. The Mrs. called this, "the most over-engineered in-ground trampoline ever," because she's just plain mean when the weather gets hot. But we were in Lowe's earlier in the morning, and I explained to her that I could buy a laser level, the cheap one being $69 and the good one being $399, but I would probably only ever use it once, or I could "old school" it with mason line. She decided that a $69 tool would be crap if there was in fact a $399 version of the same thing (which, in laser levels, is an accurate assessment of the state-of-the-art), so I should old school it.

This little spider-web jobbie took about two hours to set up. I sunk a rebar into the approximate center of the hole, then I staked a mason's line across the diameter. I then used my speedsquare to measure off 30 degrees from the line and ran the next line. Repeat until six lines are strung. At the moment of truth (on the last line where the accumulated error shows up), I measured about 32 degrees on each side. So not too bad. The fancy $399 laser level could have marked the angles for me much faster, but the $69 model would not have done angles.

I then securely fastened all the lines together at the center rebar post and used a line level to level them all out. I stapled the lines to the stakes to keep them from losing level when bumped. In theory, now I can measure off a fixed distance from the center on each line in order to sink a post and then measure down from the lines (which are level with each other) to get the right height on everything.

It'll be a miracle if that works. I've seen it work on TV, but it's the kind of thing that is unlikely to work for me. I'm thinking of surveying the neighbors to see if I can borrow a laser level for a half-hour to mark the posts once they're all in.

Here's me digging away for post hole #4 of 12. I'm sinking the posts about 16" and using an 8" tubular form with about 50 lbs of concrete. I am consuming about 24oz of ice water per post hole and installing posts at the rate of about one every 40 minutes. It started out faster, but digging holes in clay in temperatures over 100 degrees at high altitude isn't anywhere near as relaxing as you'd think. Plus, my pinky hurts.

I made a plumb bob out of mason's line and a lead fishing sinker. This is as close to fishing as I got all weekend, though I caught the same number of fish as Bozzetto.

I managed to get six posts in before succumbing to the heat. MaxieC is always available to pose for the camera. You can see the new trampoline frame in the background.

Since I only got in 6 posts, and the concrete needs to set at least overnight before mucking with the posts (I didn't spring the double-cost for the quick-dry version), The Mrs. has put me on a schedule for the remaining six posts. 2 each day on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I get home too late on Tuesday and Thursday to do any work.

I met my quota today.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Oh, what now?

Today, I pulled into the driveway at around 7:00 after work, and I saw the corner of my front porch roped off with yellow tape. My heart skipped a beat.

What is it now? Something so bad that The Mrs. didn't call me on my cell phone 30 times to consult me about it, but saved it as a surprise for when I got home all worn out from the day, like she does with every serious issue (eg., "Oh, by the way, there's no hot water."). Something so bad that she's already had someone out who has looked at it and decided it warrants caution tape.

It can only be one thing, I figure: the stone facade is falling off the archway over the porch. Oh good god, how many thousands of dollars is this going to cost? I bet they've "discovered" that the original builder f'd up the stonework as badly as he messed up the shower and the drywall and the HVAC system, and the entire front of the house has to come off and be redone or we'll risk a stone dropping off onto the little skull of one of our darling little childrens.


I park in the garage, take a deep breath, and go to investigate. What is this? This isn't "caution" tape. This tape says, "Crime Scene - Do Not Cross".

Oh, thank god.

Ya see, HannahC had science camp at the Discovery Museum this morning, and this week's topic was "CSI: Fort TomCollins". They had a real crime scene investigator from the police department come in to teach them all about crime scene investigation.

I'm telling you, my kids have more fun in one week than I ever had in a year as a child.

I later learned that HannahC had set up a crime scene on the front porch for us to solve. It even had a chalk outline of a bunny.

On a lighter note, someone who's IP address is mysteriously labeled "Rhonda" in my statcounter has been going through the archives like crazy. I have 41 hits just today. Probably searching for who the current blog-of-the-week is. But she won't find it, as I eliminated the blog-of-the-week title a couple months back for reasons that will remain permanently unspecified - so don't bother asking, but it doesn't involve you. Either that or her google reader is telling her everything is new - a common problem with setting up an RSS feed for the first time.

Also, idiosyncratically, I'm getting a lot of hits from the State University of New York at Barfalo. I graduated from there way back in 1990. Now, someone is hitting my blog from at least three different department networks, two of whom are coming as referrals off Ellie323, but the third guy seems to always have to google "cherkyb" to find it. Very, very strange given I don't know anyone back at my old alma mater.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Momma's Little Girl

HannahC: "I'm not much of a jewelry person. I like money instead."

Monday, June 18, 2007

Poor Ellie

She's been blogging away for weeks now at the newly resurrected Ellie323 blog, but hardly anyone leaves her comments. She's beginning to think her life is too boring to attract an audience. I can't imagine how that could be the case. Not because there's anything remotely exciting about Ellie's life, mind you, but because if having an exciting life were a criterion for having a blog audience, then there wouldn't be any blogs.

If my life were exciting, I sure as hell wouldn't spend half my night writing about it. Where would I get the time?

Now the real irony of the Ellie blog is that Ellie is a freelance web designer in her spare time. You say to yourself, "Self, hmmm...I bet that means her blog's layout is quite interesting." But, oddly, for a freelance web designer, installing AdSense is too complicated. Heck, installing statcounter is too complicated. It's all very strange. Head on over there and have a look-see. I'd make her Blog of the Week, but lately, those have all ended badly.

This past Thursday was one of the best Fat Camps ever. I'll have to tell you about it sometime. I learned that there was a drink called "Chicks Dig It", and it's surprisingly popular given what a horrible a concoction it looks like. It even comes with a gummy worm on the fruit spear.

Over at Cavitation's, he's noting how Hooter's is even better in Costa Rica than here. Oddly, he seems to think this was because he took his childrens there. I'm betting it's cuz it was in Costa Rica. But as an experiment, Bozzetto and I will grab our sons on Friday and see if the Hooter's experience improves. We'll have to think up some bizarre excuses to grab the boys for lunch. Something like, "We're going to the RV show."

The Mrs. is still operating under the delusion that we go to Hooter's every Friday. She manages to get angry about it every time we drive by. But the food is so bad, even I can't manage to go there more than once a month. It is, however, cheaper than Johnny Carino's, now that Carino's has increased their prices by about 1/3 in order to offset the effects of double-punch Tuesday.

We got the second bid for the deck today. It's a bit lower than the first bid, but not anywhere near as much as I had hoped. We're doomed. I won't be getting that fancy new turbo-diesel pickup any time soon.

But my contractors will be.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dinner with The Mrs.

The Mrs.: "You have man-boobs."

Me, CherkyB: "No I don't."

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Last night, right before she wen to bed, HannahC came hustling out:
HannahC: "Daddy! Daddy! I just saw a moth in my room!"

Me, CherkyB: "Yeah, this is because you never close the door when you go outside, so the moths come in."

HannahC: "But I'm worried about the moth in my room."

Me, CherkyB: "Don't worry. Moths don't bite."

HannahC: "No! I'm worried that it will eat my clothes!"

Me, CherkyB: "Oh. Uh. It's only moth larvae that eat clothes, not moths. And mostly they eat wool. You don't have any wool in your closet."

HannahC: "OK."
Later, she was up in bed, and I was lying at the bottom of it keeping her company while she settled in for the night. I got bored lying there in the dark, so I started playing Yahtzee on my cellphone. Shortly thereafter, a big, giant moth landed on my hand, attracted to the cellphone backlight. I shook my hand. It flew off my hand then landed on the phone.

I figured that if I closed the phone, it would be completely dark in the room, and the moth would be attracted to the light in the hallway, and then I could go out there and kill it. So I holstered my phone and went out there. I waited and waited. No moth.

Oh well. I had left HannahC's door open a bit, as she doesn't like to sleep with the door closed. Plus, FreddyC was in there, and he barks if the door is closed and he wants to leave. That, of course, wakes up sleeping childrens. I figured with the door open, eventually the moth would find its way out to the light.

Flash forward to today at 10am. I just opened my cellphone for the first time since last night.

There was a big, giant moth squished in it.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Getting Decked

So, as you all know, we've been looking at replacing our deck. My suggested method for this was:
  1. Hire a designer to do the design
  2. Get three contractors to bid on the exact same design
  3. Pick the one we liked the best
The Mrs., on the other hand, decided that the proper method should be:
  1. Buy a hot tub that we can't install until we build a place for it
  2. Invite out-of-town guests and promise them a new deck and hot tub
  3. Call up the general contractor guys that rebuilt our shower that leaked, and then still leaked, and then still leaked, and now is fine, tell them that they have the job already, and then have them design the deck and give us a bid.
Naturally, this method produced an eye-poppingly high estimate. The guys predominantly do kitchen and bath remodels. I think they bid our deck at the kitchen $/sq. footage rate. It also produced a design we were not happy with. So The Mrs. changed up a lot of stuff including reducing the size by ~150 sq. ft., changing from stamped/stained concrete to redwood, moving the hot tub closer to the electrical supply, and deleting some of the built-in storage.

The new bid came yesterday - it was 20% lower. Which makes it about double what the consensus estimate of people around town who have had decks done think it should be. We're talking about $60 sq/ft. Now, granted, included in the non-itemized bid is some electrical work for the hot tub, a 9x9 concrete pad, and a pergola. But its hard to imagine how these three things add over $20k to the price. Seriously, the new bid came back with five digits and starting with a 3. For a 600 sq. ft. redwood deck.

I think I can build a garage or an addition on the house cheaper than that.

So now we're playing phone tag with deck contractors.


NavieA-B's been back for one day, and my ad revenue is almost $4. 11 ad clicks, 5 google search clicks. It could be a record. Welcome back NavieA-B.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm in a funk

You know why? I don't know why. I think it's a combination of things, but the straw that broke the camel's back may have been the realization that Bozzetto knows more about fishing than I do. I know it may seem like a small thing, but I'm not happy that there is any topic whatsoever in the world of manliness where Bozzetto outshines me. It's really rocked my foundation.

I mean, I'm OK that he knows a lot more about online gaming than I do. Or more about digital cameras. Or possibly even more about baseball, since baseball is no longer a manly pursuit now that they've been letting foreigners into the major leagues.

I'm not sure he knows more about baseball than I do, mind you. He certainly could, as it would be hard to know much less. It's just that I don't care.

It does, however, bother me that he has more general fishing knowledge than I do. And almost all of it from google, as Rico, good friend that he is, pointed out when I mentioned this today. That means that in a day, day-and-a-half, I could be caught up. Except that I have to keep up two blogs in order to keep the ad revenue rolling in (Nava is on vacation, so as usual my revenue has plummeted - I'm averaging slightly under one click per post (thank you Rhonda), which means once again both my and The Mrs.'s famblies have forgotten how to click ads, again, as usual). Bozzetto has the luxury of almost never updating his blog, as he lost his AdSense account because of self-abuse (that sounds dirty) a year ago, and no one other than his wife and I read it anymore.

But, hey, "[my] writings are why the internet exists."

I'm thinking of writing a tractor review now, since in the summer I'm getting a lot more google hits to the tractor than to the snowblower.

I'm a real humanitarian.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Dessert with The Mrs.

The Mrs.: "HannahC, I'm going to teach you a little rhyme that every American schoolchild learns."

The Mrs.: "Beans, beans, they're good for the heart. The more you eat, the more you ...?"

HannahC: "Get full?"

The Mrs.: "No. It's like a poem. It's supposed to rhyme. OK. Beans, beans, they're good for the heart. The more you eat, the more you...?"

HannahC: "Fatten up?"

The Mrs.: "No. It's supposed to rhyme. Rhyme. Weight doesn't rhyme with heart."

Me, CherkyB: "Are you sure this is something you want to be teaching her?"

The Mrs.: "It's something every schoolchild needs to learn."

Me, CherkyB: "But she's not supposed to be learning it from her mother. Is this the kind of language you want to teach her?"

The Mrs.: "Oh pshaw."
So I wandered off for a while. When I came back, I heard little HannahC saying, "But Momma, is 'fart' the kind of word we should be using?"
The Mrs.: "Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat the more you...?"

Garden of Joy

Which is much better than either Garden of Death or Garden of Pain.

Since I've been being Mr. Fambly Man all weekend, I figured I better put up one of those photo posts you do when you don't have anything particularly pithy to say, but you just can't bring yourself to put up absolute crap as filler like most other bloggers will do. Thus, I give you the status update on the old garden.

In the center of this shot, you can see the carrots coming up in two little rows. Or you could if they weren't so infested with weeds. The Mrs. pulled all those weeds out Sunday morning whilst we slept, but these photos are from Saturday. In the upper left you can see our three pepper plants, and along the bottom are the onions, garlic, and shallots. You may also notice how the upper right and lower left of the photo are black. This is a sign of the automatic lens cover not retracting properly on the camera, a problem that is occurring with greater and greater frequency that you don't really notice when looking at the 1" LCD display in the bright sunlight but sure notice when looking at the photos later.

In the background you see the 3-varieties of lettuce and in the foreground the spinach. The fambly has been munching on the spinach already - our first harvestable crop here.

Mr. Lonely Watermelon.

Rows of corn. If I make it into ethanol, I'll get a lot more for it than if I sell it for food.

At the top are zucchini and crook neck squash. Then below that you see the asparagus. It won't yield this year, but is a perennial that should yield next year.

Beans on the left, peas on the right. I staked up the peas last weekend, and they are beginning to climb. I need to get a new camera. Stupid lens cover.


Big giant pumpkins.

I seem to be missing shots of the strawberries, raspberries, beets, and tomatoes. Maybe next week.

Your Momma

AdSense, as usual, is right on the money.

AdSense, as usual, is right on the money.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Breakfast with The Mrs.

The Mrs.: "I'm going to take my shower. What's for breakfast?"

Me, CherkyB: "Whatever we catch."

The Mrs.: "I don't think I can wait that long."
So I dug out the NY Times cookbook to look for something tasty. I settled on something called "Mock Eggs Benedict" that was poached eggs on toast with a milk and cheese sauce. I cooked and cooked and cooked. When I was finally able to get The Mrs. to come downstairs to eat it (after it was all cold - she decided she wanted to cut MaxieC's hair between the time I told her breakfast was ready and the time she actually ate), she sat down:
The Mrs.: "What is this?"

Me, CherkyB: "Breakfast."

The Mrs.: "Is it your own creation?"

Me, CherkyB: "No. It's from the NY Times book."

The Mrs.: "Oh... What did you substitute?"

HannahC, for her part, declared it was delicious. She then proceeded to mush it around on her plate and then ask for a bowl of Frosted Flakes.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Morning with The Mrs.

The Mrs. was watching Tom and Jerry: the Movie this morning, and they started caterwalling on some song about money. The Mrs. was moved:
The Mrs.: "The only people who sing about money being evil are people who don't have it. Money isn't evil."

Me, CherkyB: "Yes. It's really a song about jealousy."

The Mrs.: "Well, maybe in the case of Paris Hilton it can be evil."

Me, CherkyB: "No. It's really her fabulous good-looks that do it."

The Mrs.: "What? You think Paris Hilton is attractive?"

Me, CherkyB: [A trap! A trap!] "No. I only find you attractive."

The Mrs.: "She's not attractive at all. I mean, she may be perfectly symmetrical, but she's ugly."

Me, CherkyB: [silence - not falling for this one.]

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Those Wacky Hungarians

Someone in Hungary was googling "manly lesbian" and managed to hit my cast-of-characters. He/she didn't stay long, though. Didn't find what he/she was looking for, I guess.

Monday, June 04, 2007

You can blog about anything

Here. I'll show you.

My left front tire on my lawn tractor has a leak. It's really hard to tell, though, as fully inflated is only 8 psi. I think I'm going to have to pump it full of a can of tire schmutz, but I wonder if I can keep from skyrocketing to 30 psi when I do so. Oh, the things we worry about!

I opened our Val-Pac coupon mailer today, and I found coupons for the liquor store up towards the highway. The one with the good wine selection. There were two coupons - one for 10% off whatever, and one for 15% off your purchase of $30 or more. I thought to myself, "Self, have you ever been to a liquor store and not spent $30?" I'll have to head up there soon, as The Mrs. has almost completely drunk us out of Disaronno, and I'm down to my last couple sips of Fonseca.

Rico today noted how he can't drink margaritas, even though he loves them, as they are "a chick drink." Oddly, MoodyT was in the car when this transpired and did not berate Rico for such narrow-minded thinking. Instead, he focused on how to get Me, CherkyB to go to Rio's to drink margaritas to "expand my horizons". Now, I have nothing against margaritas per se. It's just that Rio's is a meat market for cougars, is very crowded, has sticky tables if you can even find someplace to sit down, long lines at the bar to get a drink, last call at 9:50pm, and the margaritas are very pricey. And Lucky Joe's has $2.50 drafts and free peanuts.

MoodyT hasn't gotten over when his new best friend, The Merman, and his buddy The Hamburgler decided during Fat Camp to go hit Rio's for last call to try to pick up cougar stragglers, and I refused to go for the above reasons, and MoodyT said, "Really? Even if we all went to Rio's, you'd go to Lucky Joe's and drink by yourself?"


"And you don't think you have a problem?"

Well, if I have a problem, it's that a good portion of my friends and I are largely incompatible due to me wanting to go someplace with cheap drinks, free peanuts, and live music, and them wanting to go ogle (but not pick up) women a good 10 years older than I while drinking blended, frozen fruit drinks. So, we headed out and parted company at the corner, with four heading to Rio's and Me, CherkyB plus The Ice Man heading to Joe's.

There was a drunken bachelorette party at Joe's. They had penis-shaped drink stirrers which a few of them were visibly uncomfortable using, which I found pretty amusing. Joe's is a great place for people-watching cuz it skews pretty low in the demographics (i.e., people who can't afford expensive drinks or to pay for their peanuts). MoodyT came slinking about a half hour later sans his three new best friends. We let him sit with us, since that's the kind of people we are. None of them had any success over there, despite there being some pretty desperate-looking older womens (they showed up at Joe's after last call at Rio's - slightly before MoodyT).

The Childrens went to the dentist today. The dentist is a big fisherman. He has lots of pictures of himself holding up big fish, and the one time I was there, he told me about how much he loves to fish. So HannahC told him the story of the non-bass carp. According to The Mrs., the dentist said, "It couldn't have been a carp. I must have been a bass. There aren't any carp in that pond. They poisoned all the carp and stocked it with bass and bluegill 20 years ago to turn it into a fishing destination."

He also said that carp was good eating. So, I guess we established that our dentist has no idea what in the hell he's talking about. But The Children's teeth look clean.

Speaking of fishing, once again CherkyB is a trend setter. Last weekend was license-free fishing weekend in Colorado (the first full weekend of every June), and Bozzetto showed up out there at my usual fishing hole with his whole fambly not long after I caught the carp. He brought two rods despite the fact that his oldest is younger than MaxieC and thus way too young to actually handle his own rod (MaxieC is marginal at best), and he didn't bring any worms. Yes, Bozzetto is a purist - a lure fisherman. Worms are for amateurs.

So he fished for a while while his poor, long-suffering wife watched the children. Eventually, the fambly headed back to their minivan, but Bozzetto stayed out there fishing. As the Cherky Fambly was heading back to the truck after a wonderful day of catching stuff, we could hear Bozzetto's oldest hollering "Daddy!" across the pond. But Bozzetto kept on fishing. As I loaded up my fambly and gear into the truck, I could see Bozzetto's fambly sitting in their minivan in the parking lot, and I remembered how they didn't get the DVD player option. And Bozzetto kept fishing.

Man, that takes a lot bigger balls than I have to let your wife and two small children sit and wait in the parking lot on a Saturday morning while you fish. Very, very big balls. Or maybe a fabulous amount of cluelessness, which would actually be well within character for Bozzetto.

I asked him about this today, and he said, "They don't mind."

So I'm going with cluelessness.

Bozzetto, in addition to not catching anything, did manage to lose his one and only lure in the branches on the bottom of the pond. Make fun of my bobber if you will, Cavitation, but I ain't losing $6 lures every day in the underwater weeds and branches.

Bozzetto has now selected a new reel and line to purchase. For the reel, he has chosen, "The same one you have, only in all aluminum," and for the line, it is, "the same kind you have, only in the super-thin." Wonderful.

MoodyT overheard all this discussion at lunch, and now he wants to go fishing, too. See, everybody always thought fishing involved long drives to the reservoirs or the lakes way up north. But it's right here in town. Is fishing the next Fat Camp?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Is Iraq the New France?

Now, I don't normally do political posts except for the occasional jab at Democrats, so you, my loyal readers, are probably wondering what to expect. Is this going to be some neocon diatribe? Some right-wing wacko nuke-em-all post? An insightful post that looks at the international balance of power from an historical perspective and draws uniquely poignant parallels between modern-day Iraq and France at the end of the Vichy period? Well, not to worry my little flock of mouth-breathers, it is something even better.

See, I was in the kitchen today, and I happened to look out the window, and there below it was The Mrs. She was dumping a bag of birdseed into the little garbage can in which we keep birdseed out by the feeder. For no apparent reason, I was overcome with this epiphany:

With modern fashion being what it is, low-rise pants and the associated undergarments, we have very little use for a country that rhymes with "underpants" anymore. I spent a long time figuring out what country would make a suitable replacement for France. Then it hit me.
I see London.
I see Iraq.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Now That's More Like It

We went fishing again today. Hannah and I decided to climb down a bank to fish in a place we hadn't before in a different part of the lake. About two minutes later, I was wrangling with this guy.

I had to send HannahC running back to get The Mrs. and the net in order to land it. I was very worried about the quality of the knots I had tied, and we were on a slope where I couldn't move around a whole bunch. It's a good thing, too, as my line actually snapped right after this picture was taken. Only has 8 lb. test on it.

I think he's a smallmouth bass, cuz that's the closest thing to what he looks like that's in the Colorado game fish identification guide. He measured in at 19 inches.

[Update: The Mrs's brother has identified the fish as a carp, and I have to agree. It didn't match the photos of a smallmouth bass properly, but looks exactly like the photos of a carp. Well, that explains why it was so stinky.]

I didn't cook him well enough on the first try, though it looks good in the photo:

Mr. Stinkyfish had to go back on the grill after we cut into him and had a couple bites. He looked cooked, but did not taste cooked.

No, not at all.

Carp is not a sushi fish.

But, in the end, Mr. Stinkyfish was gobbled up.

HannahC also caught her first two fish ever. The first one, she caught when I told her, "Go fish over there in the shadows." She caught this little dude about 5 minutes later. Another bluegill like I got last week, this one measuring in at around 5.5". We tossed it back, having decided a proper limit for bluegills is 6".

The second fish she caught was a 6" carp. We tossed it right back without even taking a picture, as The Mrs. had already declared fishing was over, so HannahC and I had been heading back to base camp. But then we saw two big carp eating bugs in the shallows and tossed a couple casts at them. They disappeared. So we kept walking back, and then we saw a little school of 4-5 fish that looked like bluegills and cast into them. Turned out she pulled out a tiny carp, not a bluegill.